Fishing can earn you a fin
Written by Cheboygan Tribune   
Thursday, 26 May 2005 10:42
Local anglers have been asked to help collect data for a three-year study of whitefish in Lake Huron. According to Jennifer Dale, spokeswoman for the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, anglers who catch tagged whitefish in Lake Huron are asked to recover the tags to help researchers study the whitefish population.

Researchers for the project are offering a reward of $5 for each tag recovered by fishermen and women, she said.

In 2003, the group tagged 3,238 lake whitefish in the Cedarville-Detour and Cheboygan areas. In 2004, a total of 12,638 whitefish were tagged in the main basin of Lake Huron, said Dale.

"Researchers will use the information from these tags to determine the spatial distribution and movements of lake whitefish stocks in Lake Huron," she said.

Information from the recovered tags will help determine mortality rates and the sex ratio of spawning fish.

Fish Assessment Biologist Mark Ebener said that the study is important because of the way whitefish are managed is on a "stock" basis.

Ebener explained that a stock is a group of fish that is spatially distinct from other groups, but not necessarily isolated. His job is to identify what spawning stocks are contributing to the southern Lake Huron fish habitat.

He said that two hypotheses are being studied in the project that would affect how whitefish are managed.

"Researchers think that most of the whitefish in central and southern Lake Huron are produced by whitefish that spawn in the Alpena and Fishing Island regions," he said.

The other hypothesis is that lake whitefish stocks in northern Lake Huron, from Cheboygan east to Manitoulin Island, tend to stray less than fish from the rest of the lake.

He said that another aspect of the project is to determine any at-risk whitefish stocks, which may be subject to over-fishing.

The tags will have a direct phone number to Ebener's office and are either red or yellow. He said that if fishers can not call him at the time of capture, they are asked to note the GPS coordinates if possible.
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